February U.S. Housing Starts Exceed Expectations

By John S. McClenahen A surprisingly strong U.S. housing market has fooled the economic forecasters again. Instead of falling back to a predicted annual rate of 1.63 million units in February, starts for privately owned housing advanced to an annual rate of 1.77 million, 3% above the revised January mark of 1.72 million, reveal data jointly released by the U.S. Commerce Department and the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development. Starts for single-family dwellings were at an annual rate of 1.46 million in February, 7% higher than the revised January figure of 1.36 million. Meanwhile, building permits for new housing rose again in February, to an annual rate of 1.75 million, 2% higher than January's 1.34 million rate.

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